Believers are in the most solemn of spiritual weeks of the year—Holy Week. And today is for many the most difficult of days. It is Good Friday. Black Friday. Great Friday or Easter Friday, depending on where you’re from and your religious observations.
It is the day we observe the anniversary of Jesus Christ’s crucifiction.
I could recite the events of that time, but believers are all too aware of them. The betrayal, the beating, the degradation, the pain and suffering. In some, the hours of noon until 3:00 PM are the hours of reparation—the time of the Passion of Christ. The time when we offer all we can to repair for the injustices He suffered.
Often, I think of how his mother felt that day. Seeing her son on the Cross. Knowing He had been abused, knowing what was coming. My mother’s heart breaks for her, and I know the only way she withstood it was faith. Nothing else is strong enough to make that depth of pain endurable.
Mostly I think of God that day. How He had to have wept. He loved all—His only begotten Son and His Son’s accusers. He knew what would come, knew all in every heart, and endured so that the wrongdoers would have life everlasting. That His Son was the bridge between Himself and all of mankind and the only way they could reach Him was through His Son. Logically, I know all that, and yet how His heart must have shattered at witnessing the events. How many times it must have shattered. He could have stopped it, but He didn’t. He endured . . . for us. Only He is that strong. That perfect. Only He holds that much dignity and grace.
And my mind turns to Christ Himself. His fear and disappointment. His desolation and despair. The human in Him had to endure all that and the pain and suffering. And yet, He didn’t ask that we be punished. He asked we be forgiven. What it must have cost Him to do that. To ask God to forgive all those who inflicted His agony.
Yet some dare to say, “How much do you love me?”
“Enough?” they say. “Yes, you died for us. But You knew where you were going. You knew that on the other side of this life, there’d be another, and there, You’d be seated at the right hand of the Father.”
And in my mind, I hear Christ say, “I love you enough to die for you, yes.” He nods, then adds, “But equally important, I love you enough to live for you. For unless I had lived, endured, struggled, overcome, I couldn’t have died for you.”
I think about that a lot. God said to the Spirit, “Will you?”
And Christ in spirit, who had been with God from the very beginning, who was fully aware of all that would come and every wrong He would face, answered, “Yes, I will.”
So today is the observance of the day Christ died for us all: a solemn, heartwrenching day. But it also is a day of rembrance of the first decision He made for us. To live, that He might die and be the bridge to God for us.
Today, pause to observe. To think. To remember with reverence and respect. Think not only about the crucifiction. Think about all the others involved, think about the impact of this event on their lives, on our lives that extends through history even until today.
Remember, and even if you do not believe, respect those who do and do not infringe on their right to express themselves in their faith. It is incumbent on us all to conduct ourselves with respect, with dignity and grace.